Family and Friends!!!! Ow Fa Na?!
Because of Light Out (they turn the power off in Ghana for 12 hours and then have it on for 12 hours because there isn't enough power for everyone) we are in an internet cafe an hour and a half walk away from our apartment. But I have so many wonderful experiences to share with you that the walk and the sunburn will be worth it!
This week was marvelous as always. It was full of triumphs and struggles. Much happiness as we met with investigators who were doing the things that the Lord asks of them, and sadness as we literally watched a few of our investigators run away from us as they saw us coming. But my companion and I are praying for charity and patience every day and the Lord is blessing us as long as we ask for it.
My first experience happened on Tuesday when we went to go see the 6 young men who I have named the Boys Club. We were walking up to their housing complex where we saw a few of them sitting underneath a tree. As soon as they saw us they just scattered in every direction, except ours, and in a few moments they were lost in the alleys of Teshie. They literally saw us and they ran! I mean, I know I can be a little scary looking since I sweat like crazy here, but I am a normal human being! I was so disappointed. I had been praying a lot for them that they would accept the message we had prepared for them that day, but they were all gone. There were only about 4 of them that ran away who were investigators. So, my companion and I sat down to call the other 2 young men and see if they were around so that we could meet with them. We got a hold of one and he said he was on his way. While we were waiting this huge, muscular black dude rode up on a bike and was just glaring at us. I smiled, hoping that wouldn't offend him because his arms where the size of my legs, but he just continued to glare. And then he walked over to this shed, unlocked it, and let out a HUGE dog. I mean this dog was easily the size of my Saint Bernard back home, which is something you almost never see in Ghana. The dogs that run around the streets here look more like cats, so I was so excited to actually see a dog that looked like a dog! After some time he chained the dog up near the tree and then sat down on the same bench as us that circles this tree. After some time of me debating on if I should say anything (since he had been glaring at us) I finally said, "Hey boss, what's your name?" He looked and after a few seconds on decided if he should respond, he told me his name was Nee. And then I asked him about his ginormous dog. The dogs name is Champ and he is a 1 year old Bull Mastiff. He told me that he actually breeds them in Ghana and that this dog had all of it's shots (I put that in for my mom so she doesn't get to angry for what happens next). I told him all about Sabra and then asked if I could pet it. He laughed but said that would be fine! We talked while I pet the dog and I asked what he did for a living and he told me that he was a prophet. And so I asked him what he believed. He told me a lot, but my favorite thing that he said was that in this life he doesn't fear anything. He will either fight as hard as he can and die, or he will survive and be stronger because of it. It reminded me of a scripture so I asked if I could share it and then asked if he would read it and he declined and said, "Be careful. I know your people's tricks!" I had to laugh at that one. Because I can honestly tell you that we don't have any tricks as missionaries. Just that we love the Lord and we are there to act as he would act and to say what he would say. Nee had to go and I don't know what will become of him, but he left saying how much he was impressed with me, being an 18 year old American serving a mission in Ghana. All I could think of was how blessed I am to have that opportunity.
This week we experienced another rain storm! But this one came while we were out in the Bush, which means there are only dirt roads and lots of mud if they get wet. It was around 5:30 and we were teaching Kwame, a 14 year old boy who will be getting baptized this week, a lesson. I noticed that it was getting dark. It doesn't get dark until 6:00 so I was confused and then I got smacked by a huge gust of wind. My companion ended the lesson in a few seconds, which takes some skill, and then turned to me and said, "Elder Bergeson, say the prayer." He was so serious like our life would depend on how fast I said this prayer, and I said a very heartfelt, but very fast prayer because we were about to receive the shower of a life time. We stood up and grabbed our bikes and we were already feeling some small drops. We decided to go to an investigators house nearby where there was cover. We started going and the rain started coming. In Ghana people have metal roofs and you can know the rain is coming because it sounds like a roaring river is about to overtake you, so it gives you some incentive to ride faster! People were running everywhere, closing their stores in seconds; basically just grab everything and run for cover. About 30 seconds from the house we were going to, the rain hit us. I could barely see with the wind blowing the rain right into my face but all of a sudden I saw my companion zip right past me and I just heard him squealing: "Ride Elder, ride!!!!" I can still hear that and it makes me laugh even now. We made it though and waited for 3 hours until the rain stopped and then we slogged and slipped our way through the mud back to our apartment. What an adventure!
Elder Fayeampah turned 25 this week so we threw him an awesome party! I woke up at 5:00 and got my washing done, then decorated the apartment with signs and balloons and then I made fruit smoothies for breakfast! Then that night for dinner I helped him make Jollofrice and Fried Chicken. And we ate and ate and ate. I am always hungry as a missionary and I think that is the only time on the mission that I can actually say I was full. But we had to finish it off with dessert! The other Elders in our apartment bought some cupcakes and I got some candles and we sang How Old Are You Now and he blew out his candles. We played games and took lots of pictures. It was truly a night of joy.
This week I learned a lot about Faith. In Alma Chapter 32, from the Book of Mormon, a prophet Alma compares Faith to a seed. First, you give place for a seed to grow. Second, you plant it. Third, you nurture it. Then you watch your seed swell and grow into a great tree and you will have the opportunity to taste of the fruit of your tree. Alma says in verse 42, "And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the [seed] in nourishing it... ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet." I read this and it gave me so much comfort. For some reason that day I had been doubting myself and thinking that I might not be able to endure and make it the two years as a missionary. But I read that and I knew that if I wanted to taste the fruit that is most precious and sweet, then I needed to do what the Lord had commanded me. My Savior loves me so much that he died for me. I need to show that I love Him by serving Him with all that I have. A mission is hard. Life is hard. Things don't go as planned. There is suffering. There is pain. There is disappointment. But if we continue with diligence, having faith in Jesus Christ and patience in His timing, then we will be able to taste of the fruit that each of us yearns for. For me that fruit is living with my family forever. I want that with all of my heart so I will continue with faith until that day when I get to partake of that delicious fruit. When life gets so difficult that you think you can't continue, just remember that fruit. "I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it."
I love you all. I pray for you and I ask that you continue to pray for me.
Elder Bergeson at church
"Preach the Gospel to every creature....
Just doing my job Mom"
Fresh hair cut
Birthday Breakfast for Elder Fayeampah
Elder Liongitau and Elder Bergeson
ready to eat their humongous dinner